The Lighted Way
The Law & Grace

The Scripture tells us that someday we must all face our Eternal Judge. He will examine our lives. Any part of us that is out of harmony with His holy law is considered sin. It is easy to see then that the law holds a very crucial role in the judgement. For most of us, dealing with law in any way is out of vogue. We simply give a pat answer: "it was nailed to Jesus' cross".

But we certainly all agree that any society needs laws. Certainly the society of heaven must have some! And what about the laws like no stealing, or no killing? If we believe the Ten Commandments were nailed to the cross of Christ, we are calling them null and void - passe. Thus it must be perfectly okay with God for us to become serial killers and theives. Obviously this isn't so. Perhaps then, another look at the law of God is appropriate. What is the law, and what was done away with at the cross?

1. Who wrote the Ten Commandments?

"And He gave unto Moses... two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God." Exodus 31:18

"And the tables were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, graven upon the tables." Exodus 32:16

God wrote the Ten Commandments, Himself. They were so important to Him, that they are the ONLY part of the Bible that He didn't just give to someone else to write down. He wrote them with His own finger.

2. God tells us the definition of sin in the Bible. What is the definition of sin?

"Sin is the transgression of the law." 1 John 3:4

When you transgress something, you break or disobey it. Sin is breaking God's Ten Commandment law. The law of ' God is perfect (Psalm 19:7), it covers ever conceivable sin. It is not possible to do something wrong that is not condemned by at least one of God's commandments. To be certain we would be clear on what God's expectations and requirements are, God's commandments cover "the whole duty of man". (Ecclesiastes 12:13) Nothing is left out or forgotten.

3. Why did God give us the Ten Commandments?

"He that keepeth the law, happy is he." Proverbs 29:18

"Keep My commandments: For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee." Proverbs 3:1-2

God gave us the law because He knew that keeping it would bring mankind happiness. Every government has a law, probably more than one in fact. God's government has laws also. The Ten Commandments are the laws of God's government. In heaven, His laws are followed. There is no murder, no taking of God's name vainly, no immorality, no envy or lying... God's commandments are kept in heaven. Heaven, as a result is a happy, holy place. God planned for our world to be as wonderful as heaven is.

Just as our ancient scientists used to believe that the earth was the center of the universe, we too have a very inflated view of our own importance regarding the law of God. We often think that just because God didn't write them until He gave them to Moses that He never had them until we came along. But we humans were not the motivation for God to create His holy law. Scripture teaches us that God is an Eternal being (Genesis 21:33). I will show you later in this study that God's law is a perfect revealing of His character. Thus, God is called Eternal (having no beginning and no end), and SO IS THE LAW OF GOD! Psalm 111:7-8 tells us that His Commandments are eternal (having no beginning and no end). Thus we see that God's commandments have been in existence as long as He has (forever). They are the basis of His government in heaven.

4. What value does the Law of God have on earth?

"By the law is the knowledge of sin." Romans 3:20

"I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law said, Thou shalt not covet." Romans 7:7

First, we have seen that the law of God is the basis for perfect government. Certainly if the inhabitants of earth kept God's law as the inhabitants of heaven do, our planet would be as happy and holy as heaven is. But, our race are born sinners (commandment breakers). To us, often God's law is like a spiritual mirror. We look into it to see the "dirt on our face" - in other words, we see how our lives are out of harmony with God's Divine plan when we look at the law and compare ourselves with it.

There is yet another purpose for the Law of God. "Hold me up, and I shall be safe: and I will have respect unto Thy statutes continually. Thou hast trodden down all them that err from Thy statutes." Psalm 119:117-118. Here we see that the law of God is our protection. Just as cages in the zoo protect us from the potential destructive force of large animals, so the law of God protects us from idolartry, theft, murder, impurity, falsehood, and many other evils which destroy life, peace and happiness.

Surely then, now that we see it is as eternal as God Himself, and that it is for our good, it can't be done away with at the cross! Can it?

5. Is the Law of God really all that important to me, personally?

"So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty." James 2:12

James is writing about God's law. It is the law of liberty. For when we live in harmony with it, we are free to experience abundant life, peace and happiness. When we live out of harmony with it, we are destroyed by the evils it was designed to protect us from. James tells us that we will be judged by this law someday. God is going to examine you by its standard someday. How are you measuring up? Your eternal reward is determined by how this question is answered. Are you measuring up? Can you measure up?

6. God's Law has always been in effect and it always will be - because God and His law are linked. God's law is a revealing of His character.

The only way to nail God's eternal law to Jesus' cross is to kill God there too. If any part of God continues to exist past the cross than so must the law. Surely we all believe that God is up in heaven... Thankfully so, for our adversary the Devil would make short work of killing us all if God's power did not still limit his ability to do so. But don't take my word for it, lets see how closely the Bible links God's character with His law:

A. God is Good (Luke 18:19) = The law is Good (1 Timothy 1:8)

B. God is Holy (Isaiah 5:16) = The law is Holy (Romans 7:12)

C. God is Perfect (Matthew 5:48) = The law is Perfect (Psalm 19:7)

D. God is Pure (1 John 3:2-3) = The law is Pure (Psalm 19:7)

E. God is Just (Deuteronomy 32:4) = The law is Just (Romans 7:12)

F. God is True (John 3:33) = The law is True (Psalm 19:9)

G. God is Spiritual (1 Corinthians 10:4) = The law is Spiritual (Romans 7:14)

H. God is Righteousness (Jeremiah 23:6) = The law is Righteousness (Psalm 119:172)

I. God is Faithful (1 Corinthians 1:9) = The law is Faithful (Psalm 119:86)

J. God is Love (1 John 4:8) = The law is Love (Romans 13:10)

K. God is Unchangeable (James 1:17) = The law is Unchangeable (Matthew 5:18)

L. God is Eternal (Genesis 21:33) = The law is Eternal (Psalm 111:7-8)

In fact, you can go point by point through the Bible and find that in every description of what God is, so the law of God is. That is how completely linked the two are. Nail the law to the Cross and you deny the very existence of our Eternal God! Wow!

7. But didn't Jesus do away with God's law while He was here on earth?

An idea, even if it proves unfounded in Scripture, is hard to change. So, even though we've already kind of answered this, lets go ahead and deal with it in order to drive away any remaining doubt.

Here are Jesus' words to answer this question: "Think not that I am come to destroy the law... I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill... Till heaven and earth pass, one jot (smallest mark) or one tittle (dot of the "I") shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." Matthew 5:17-18

Jesus is clear here. His coming to earth wasn't to destroy the law. Our sinfulness had broken the law. This left us with an outstanding debt. We had to die because we broke the law. This death, Jesus came to fulfill. Now the law of God is satisfied. You are made free from the death you deserve for your past of law-breaking. But will the law be done away with? Not until heaven and earth pass... And heaven and earth will not pass so long as there is an eternal God... Thus we see that the law, just as the Bible says, is eternal.

8. But now that Jesus has died for my law-breaking, I'm covered! I don't have to keep the law!

"The wages of sin is death." Romans 6:23

"He shall destroy the sinners." Isaiah 13:9

"Whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all." James 2:10

Jesus did die to forgive our sins (1 John 1:9), but the second part of that is "cleansing us from all unrighteousness". Without accepting the cleansing process, so that our lives are changed and we DO begin to live in harmony with God's heavenly government, we can never live in heaven - where these laws are the very foundation of the happiness there. To take a law-breaker into eternity, someone who kept on sinning, knowing better, is to bring sin into eternity. God is not going to do this. When we knowingly break a commandment, we are sinning (James 4:17). In this way, we show God that we haven't really accepted Jesus. You can't have the forgiveness without the cleansing. Deny the one and you loose the other.

9. But I know that we can't be saved by keeping the law! Right?

"By the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight." Romans 3:20

"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is a gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." Ephesians 2:8-9

True! We cannot be saved by keeping the law. Salvation is grace - a free gift. We do not keep the law in order to be saved. The difference between truth and error here is very small. Let's compare this with an astronaut calculating the exact path of travel he must take to reach Saturn (supposing it could be done of course)... If the calculations are off, by even the tiniest of decimal places, the whole angle of the trajectory becomes wrong. As he moves through the vast reaches of space, the tiny error becomes larger and larger. In the end, his tiny decimal place error will cause him to miss the entire planet!

In the same way, the law issue seems almost the same from both sides. Yet one is correct - Biblically, and the other is not. One will get you on the path of harmony with God's will. And the other will not. Here are the two paths. First, "you cannot keep the law to be saved. Therefore, Jesus died so that we would be free from having to keep it." Now lets follow that path out to its farthest galactic end: "I don't need to change my life in any way. I can go right on sinning - so long as I always faithfully ask for forgiveness... I can live as I want - and still be saved."

The second path starts out just the same. "You cannot keep the law to be saved." But this path begins to change ever so slightly in the next part: "Therefore,Jesus died so that I can be forgiven for not keeping it." Now we start to see how very different the two paths really are: "I accept Jesus'tremendous sacrifice on my behalf! I cannot imagine how much He must love me to go to such lengths for my salvation! I love You, Lord! Your love has changed my life. I no longer want to do the things that displease You! Please cleanse me and make me a new creature in You. Give me your strength so that I will be enabled to follow Your will."

Did you catch the difference? We are not saved by keeping the law. We cannot keep the law. Babies are born needing a Savior long before they actually break the law. The Bible says "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God." We have inherited lawlessness from our first parents. But, Jesus has given us a new inheritance. We are washed in His blood. All our lawlessness is forgiven. We now walk in a new life. Romans 6 tells us that we cannot "Continue in sin". This makes our need for grace greater and greater. Is this the response of a loving and changed life? No! If we love Jesus, we see His blood as precious. And the next step is the cleansing.

10. But how can I keep the law of God - even after I am changed?

"I will put my laws into their minds, and write them in their hearts." Hebrews 8:10

"I can do all things through Christ." Philippians 4:13

"God sending His own Son... That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled IN US." Romans 8:3-4

God promises to change your mind into a new, spiritually aware mind. His law, after we are part of Christ, is to be written in our very hearts. Can we keep it? We CAN - through Christ. God has provided a way for our past to be made clean. We stand before Him justified by the blood of Jesus (made just as if we had not sinned). But the next part of that is the part we don't hear about much today. We must then submit to God's sanctification. This means that we must lean on the power of God in order to keep from sinning! We are to be overcomers here on earth!

11. In a moment, we will address whether living under grace frees you from keeping the law. But before we do, lets Biblically shatter another pin holding up the structure of belief in the law being done away with at the cross.

If the Ten Commandments were nailed to the Cross of Christ (as I think you have already seen was not the case), wouldn't we expect to never hear of the Ten Commandments in the New Testament - after Jesus' death? Let's see if the Commandments are mentioned in the New Testament, implying that they were still in effect after Jesus died.

Please compare this list with the one in Exodus 20.

1. Worship and serve only God. - "Thou shalt have no other gods before Me." (Exodus 20:3 / Matthew 4:10)

2. No idols or graven images (Exodus 20:4-6 / 1 John 5:21, Acts 17:29)

3. God's name is holy. Do not blaspheme God's name (Exodus 20:7 / 1 Timothy 6:1)

4. The Seventh-day is the Sabbath- keep it holy (Exodus 20:8-11 / Hebrews 4:4, 9, 10)

5. Honor your parents (Exodus 20:12 / Matthew 19:19)

6. Do not kill (Exodus 20:13 / Romans 13:9)

7. Do not commit adultery (Exodus 20:14 / Matthew 19:18)

8. Do not steal (Exodus 20:15 / Romans 13:9)

9. Do not bear false witness (lie) (Exodus 20:16 / Romans 13:9)

10. Do not covet (Exodus 20:17 / Romans 7:7)

There they are, and they are in more places than these! So if the Ten Commandments appear in the New Testament we can assume one of two things. The Ten Commandments were still in effect after the death of Christ. Or, the Ten Commandments weren't in effect and No One bothered to tell the Bible writers about it. Would God omit such an important piece of information when His Spirit was busy impressing these holy men about what to write? Certainly not! We can all see how absolutely preposterous such a concept is. It is to believe that God's Word is not His truth. We know better. Thus we find that the commandments were still in effect - very much so - after Jesus' death.

12. But doesn't living under grace free you from keeping the law?

"For sin (breaking the law of God) shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. What then? Shall we sin (break the law), because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid!" Romans 6:14-15

"Do we then make void the law (do away with the law) through faith? God forbid! Yea, we establish the law." Romans 3:31

When you accept Jesus' sacrifice you are forgiven and you become free in God. Free from the power of Satan to keep you out of harmony with God's plan. The truth is you are not free to break it now - you are free to keep it! While under Satan's world, you were a slave to sin. You couldn't obey the law - you were like a puppet to his whims. He said smoke, we did; He said, get drunk and drive - we did; He said have physical relations with someone else's spouse - we did; and so on. Yes, we could SEE that these things were wrong. But Satan told us they felt good. And we were helpless to resist his lies. So, we did all the things that brought us and those around us pain. We lived that wrecked life out of harmony with God's holy plan. But then - praise God - one day we were saved and set free from all of that!

Now, we no longer have to do those things. When the irresistible urge to sin comes in the form of a demonic temptation, we now recognize it for what it really is. We know we can't resist on our own! So, the new Christian drops to his/her knees and pleads with God for the strength to resist. It comes in a flash! We are suddenly, spiritually superman. We stand up on the power of God and find we no longer have the urge to sin. We are free! FREE!

13. Why do most Christians believe that we don't need to keep the law - since, obviously we do?

Satan has a vested interest in seeing you destroyed. He will get you any way he can. He is the father of lies (John 8:44) and he is spreading his biggest and best lies in the churches! Don't think that just because something is preached from a pulpit or taught by a famous evangelist that it is God's truth! It may be! But we must first test that teaching against the Word of God. If it goes against Scripture, our ultimate authority on truth, then it is not truth!

"And the dragon (the devil) was wroth (furious) with the woman (a symbol of God's true church), and went to make war with the remnant of her seed (those people who live at the end of time), which keep the commandments of God." Revelation 12:17

Satan doesn't want you to be a commandment keeper. He wants to keep you spiritually weak! He knows that you can - if you connect yourself with the power of heaven - resist his temptations. So he lies to you. He keeps you from making that connection. But, the people of God won't buy the Devil's lies!

"Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God." Revelation 14:12

God will have a people who are fully obedient to his will. These people will live on earth as sinless (forgiven and then cleansed) human beings. No more, will they have any part of Satan's deceptions. No more will they follow this old cruel master. Now, they follow God. And Satan hates them! They are the bain of his existence. He doesn't want you to be one of them. But God does. Will you join God's team? Will you choose to accept Jesus' forgiveness for your past and then ask for God's power (moment-by-moment) to walk free from your old ways of sin? Will you be victorious? I pray so, friend. For if you choose to let the blinders fall from your eyes, you will see clearly that Satan has been working a terrible deception. You CAN (with God's strength) live without sin. In fact, you MUST live without sin. God has forgiven you. Your choosing to follow Him is the EVIDENCE that you have accepted His gift. Both forgiveness and the ability to be victorious over temptation are gifts from God. Will you accept these gifts? Join God's team right now! Be free!

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